Dover Castle: A Travel Feature -
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
Globetrotting Planning Articles

Globetrotting Traveling Articles
52 Hours In the Cairo Airport
A Guided Tour
A Real National Treasure
A San Francisco Treat
A Trip Back In Time
A Trip Back In Time
Adventure to Washington, D.C.
Adventures by Disney
Adventures by Disney
Airline Security
Amish Country
An Insider's Guide
An Insider's Guide
Arlington National Cemetery
Bath, England
Buckingham Palace
Busch Garden Africa's SheiKra
CARES Child Restraint System
Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio
Celebration, Florida
Charleston, South Carolina
Costa Rica Adventures by Disney
Discovering "America's Finest City"
Disney's Vero Beach
Dover Castle
Driving Through The Night
Escape Into Alcatraz
Explore Alaska (From The Comfort of Your RV!)
Explore Alaska (From The Comfort of Your RV!)
Flying to Europe for a Disney Cruise
Flying to Walt Disney World from the West Coast
Flying Upper Class
Flying with Kids
Fort Sumter
Greeter Programs
Harry Potter's
Helsinki, Finland
Hershey, Pennsylvania
Hilton Head Island
Hong Kong Disneyland
How to Handle A "Bumpy" Flight
I Dream Of Hawaii
In a New York Minute
iPhone, I Travel
Kapalua, Maui
Keeping Kids Happy on Long Car Rides
Kent, England
King Tut and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs
Las Vegas
Las Vegas for Families
London, UK
Los Angeles
Madison County, New York
Molto Italia
More Than Bridges
My First NASCAR Experience
Nashville, Tennessee
National Aquarium
New Orleans
New York City
Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Not Your Average Bus Tour
On the Road to Walt Disney World
Oslo, Norway
Passport Update
Playing the Waiting Game
Port Canaveral, Florida
Prince Edward Island
Redondo Beach, California
Salem, Massachusetts
Small Is Beautiful
Small Is Beautiful
Southwest and JetBlue
St. Louis
Stockholm, Sweden
The Amtrak Auto Train
The Auto Train
The Emerald Isle
The Globe Theatre
The Grand Canyon
The Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains
The Other Side of the Falls
The Quest for the West
The World's Loveliest Castle
To Rent or Not To Rent
Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo DisneySea
Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions
Traveling Carry-On to Walt Disney World
Traveling With Extended Family
Using Orlando's "Other" Airport
Vermont by Bicycle
Viva Italia!
Viva Italia! Part 1
Viva Italia! Part 2
Viva Las Vegas!
Vive la Difference
Washington D.C.
What To Do While Waiting for a Flight
When Does Your Walt Disney Vacation Really Begin?
When to Visit Walt Disney World
Windsor Castle
Winter Wonderland
Your First Trip to Universal Studios Orlando

Globetrotting Lodging Articles

Globetrotting Touring Articles

Globetrotting Dining Articles

Globetrotting Making Magic Articles

Globetrotting General Travel Articles

View all PassPorter articles
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum
Read Comments on This Article

Dover Castle: A Travel Feature

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 8/9/2007

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!

Filed in Articles > International Travel > Traveling  

Many castles become famous for their roles in war, but usually those wars date back centuries. Not so with Dover Castle on the southeastern coast of England. Its position at the start of the shortest sea crossing between England and continental Europe made for a pivotal role in one of the turning points of World War II.

Dating back more than 1,000 years, Dover Castle has stood on its current site since Roman times and even today, a Roman lighthouse and church, dating back to around the year 900 AD can still be seen there. Much of the Castle you see today dates from around 1180, when King Henry II rebuilt its fortifications. It's one of the biggest castles you'll find in the whole of England.

It was strengthened over the years by a succession of English kings, and with good reason, as one of the castle attractions demonstrates. The 1216 Siege Experience takes you back in time to the days when the castle was one of the few remaining places holding out for King John against rebellious citizens, who had allied themselves with Prince Louis of France. Using light, film and sound, the show really brings to life what people would have gone through during that siege, and is well worth seeing.

Beautiful though the castle is, towering on a hill above Dover, England's busiest sea port, the real attraction is buried far beneath the fortifications. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, the situation for the Allied forces was becoming desperate, with the Germans advancing across Europe. Countries were falling rapidly and soldiers from Britain and her allies had retreated to the beaches of Dunkirk in Northern France near the Belgian border. There was nowhere else to fall back to.

Against that background, plans were put together for Operation Dynamo to evacuate the troops back to Britain. The nerve center for this operation was the secret wartime tunnels underneath Dover Castle. These tunnels were first dug during the Napoleonic Wars and were in near constant use from that date onwards, but today they're best known for the work that took place in them in the 1940s.

As you walk through the tunnels, it's impossible to believe that around 700 people were based here during some of the worst days of World War II. That included switchboard staff, after a military telephone exchange was installed to serve the underground headquarters.

It's quite something to see the Command Centre, where Winston Churchill, then the Prime Minister of Great Britain, viewed the Battle of Britain. That's the name given to attempts by the German air force, the Luftwaffe, to try and gain air superiority over the British Royal Air Force. The plan was that once that was achieved, the Germans would then invade Britain. But despite undertaking the most sustained bombing campaign up until that date, the plan failed and is now widely seen as a major turning point in the war.

Not only were these tunnels a command center, but they were also home to an underground hospital. It can't have been easy trying to work under these conditions, and another of the exhibits shows a surgeon attempting to save the life of an injured pilot.

Since those days in the 1940s, the tunnels had been on standby to be used in the event of a nuclear attack, but gradually they fell into disuse before being re-opened for visitors to step back into history.

Dover Castle is open throughout the year, except between December 24-26 and on January 1. The Castle is also closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between the beginning of November and the end of January. It's about a mile and a half from Dover Priory railway station, so to reach the Castle without a car; you'll either need to catch a taxi or a bus there.

Dover itself is about an hour and a half's drive from London and it's also home to another famous sight. Situated on the southeastern coast of England, you'll find the famous White Cliffs of Dover here, which have been described as the country's most popular stretch of coastline. With good reason, as they've been the sight that has welcomed people to England for centuries.

Of course, if you fancy heading further afield to mainland Europe, Dover is one way to start those travels, with the Port of Dover the busiest in England. As well as regular ferry services across to France, Dover is also becoming a regular port of call with many cruise ships. You never know, with its recent Mediterranean excursion, perhaps one day we'll see the Disney Magic setting down anchor there!

About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

Related Links:

Traveling Carry-On to Walt Disney World - Avoid Those Baggage Fees last updated 3/2/2011
New York City - Something Old, Something New last updated 01/02/2009
On the Road to Walt Disney World - Doing "The Drive" last updated 01/20/2009
Airline Security - 10 Important Tips and Reminders last updated 1/21/2009
Sick at Sea - (But Not Sea Sick!) last updated 5/14/2009

Reader Comments:

View all comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)

Updated 8/9/2007 - Article #240 

Read additional articles from

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  



We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Globetrotting: General Travel Planning
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Planning a trip around the globe, or just away for the weekend? Ask questions and share experiences! Forum Sponsored by

Winnipeg, Canada
by Ashli
9 Dec 2014 at 2:51pm
Now that the draw for the Women's World Cup 2015 has happened, I know I'll be spending 7-10 days in Winnipeg next June. Anyone been there before and...
(click title above to view replies)

Does anyone take a vacation to somewhere just because flights are cheap?
by Huntermom
26 Nov 2014 at 8:40am
A client just told me she was able to get fares to INdia from Boston for $700./00 round trip. It makes me want to plan a ytrip even though I...
(click title above to view replies)

North West- any must see's or travel tips?
by B.M.
23 Nov 2014 at 1:40pm
This coming summer, we will be traveling to the North West. I've been planning this trip for quite some time.... and now the time has come to...
(click title above to view replies)

Should I consider it?
by Huntermom
19 Nov 2014 at 5:20pm
My brother in law will be speaking at a conference in China this year. My sister will be going along with him and they invited me to join them. I...
(click title above to view replies)

Total Visits: 3248

PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
News & Updates
Message Boards
Concierge Desk
Books & E-Books
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.